BPA seeks public comment on several proposed transmission projects

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is accepting public comments on several proposed and planned transmission projects across four states in the Pacific Northwest, including the rebuilding of two lines that have reached the end of their useful lives.

BPA proposes to rebuild and upgrade the existing 115-kV Midway-Grandview transmission line, a 25-mile long cedar pole line that runs from the Midway substation in Washington state along the Columbia River to the Grandview substation. BPA will host a public scooping meeting in Grandview, Wash., on Oct. 16.

The proposed rebuilds are part of BPA’s commitment to maintain reliable electrical service and to reduce potential safety risks to the public and work crews. By rebuilding aging transmission lines when needed, BPA preserves the value of its transmission system, much of which is now nearing 70 years in age, the administration said.

The agency is accepting comments through Oct. 31 on the addition of new substation site alternatives for the proposed Montana to Washington transmission system upgrade project. BPA’s consideration of the new substation site options is the result of an earlier round of public comments. The agency is proposing the system upgrades in response to requests from utilities and power producers, including renewable energy generators, for increased transmission service capacity from BPA’s Garrison substation in western Montana to delivery points west of the Cascade Mountains.

As reported previously, BPA is accepting public comments through Sept. 26 from members of the public in Lane County, Oregon on the proposed rebuild of the 60-year-old Hills Creek-Lookout Point transmission line between Lowell, Ore., and Oakridge.

The 26-mile, 115-kV wood-pole line was built in 1953 and, although routine maintenance has been performed on the line, most of the 60-year-old structures are physically worn and need to be replaced due to age and deterioration, according to BPA. In additional to replacing the wood poles and conductors, BPA plans to relocate a portion of the right-of-way (ROW) about three miles southeast of Oakridge by approximately 2,000 feet because of an active landslide that is threatening the existing line. The proposed project may also require developing new access roads or trails and improving existing access roads.

BPA personnel will consider comments, concerns and other input about the potential impacts of the project that should be addressed in an environmental assessment (EA). The agency on June 10 issued a notice of its determination that the project fell within the class of actions that, per the Code of Federal Regulations, would normally require an EA but not necessarily an environmental impact statement.

Interested parties can send comments on any of the proposed projects and their potential impacts to BPA either through mail or the BPA website. Comments should reference the project by name.